Richard Nixon Foreign Policy and Cold War

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Category: Cold War
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The Cold War began to come to an end once President Richard Nixon stepped into office. He wanted to take a different approach to the international relations by using diplomacy instead of military action. In 1972, Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet premier, and Nixon signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. This treaty made both sides agree to halt all nuclear weapons manufacturing. This would then lead to a big step to ending the threat of nuclear war. Even though Nixon had brought an end to this war, President Ronald Reagan had brought up the tensions once more.

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He helped provide and aid anticommunist governments since he believed communism spreading would threaten freedom elsewhere. Years later, this would bring a true ending to the Cold War.

Another way the Americans tried to contain the Soviets, was nuclear deterrence. For a short time after WW2, Americans had an advantage of the nuclear war at the time. They used this to try and make the Soviets discouraged from moving forward in their nuclear progression. By the mid-1960s though, the nuclear deterrence turned into a strategic stalemate. The Soviets had built up enough nuclear weapons to compete against the Americans. Both sides knew that they should ride out a surprise counterforce attack without being destroyed. This would prove to be difficult to go through since the number of war heads and ways of transporting them began to increase. This would then lead to the production of other delivery systems such as submarines, bombers, and missiles.

One of the ways Americans used containment was the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO was an alliance between America and Europe to not let the Soviets spread their communism. This treaty would make sure that whoever was a part of it, would help each other if they or other territories were starting to be controlled by the Soviets. With the civilians of 26 countries forming an army as a part of NATO, this would help protect and defend countries in a crisis. Their council is made up of military and political leaders represented by each country. The council decides what kind of tactic to take, whether it’s political or a military one. They were made to keep the world at ease and peace.

The Cold War started shortly after the end of World War II. It was against the USA and the Soviet Union. Even though they fought together as allies during WW2, this didn’t stop them from having their differences escalate. Americans didn’t like how the Russians ran things. Some examples of this include the Communism of the Soviets and their leader, Joseph Stalin. This war took storm by all of the propaganda. George Orwell predicted in an article published in 1945, that there will be a nuclear stalemate between the two sides. Each side had a weapon of mass destruction which had the capability to clear out millions of people. The Americans dealt with the Soviets during the war with the idea of containment. Containment was an idea created by George F. Kennan in 1946.

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Richard Nixon Foreign Policy and Cold War. (2019, Nov 17). Retrieved from